heartfelt tears

It was an early spring morning in 1975 when the “Cultural Revolution” was about to end. My family leave was about to expire, and before returning to the Inner Mongolia Production and Construction Corps, which was located outside of China, my dad and I had a big job to do.

I carefully took out a blank diagnosis letter with the official seal of Haidian Hospital and gently spread it on the desk. I’m afraid that this small paper was cut by the desktop, Dad hurriedly took a cardboard pad in this thin small paper below. I took out my pre-typed draft, which read “Gastroduodenal bulb ulcer”, and prepared to have my dad copy these words onto the blank diagnosis.

At this point. Dad’s nervous demeanor and approach made my heart clench. I knew it was too hard for dad.

My father was originally an enthusiastic and cheerful person, and was a member of the drama team when he was in college, and once appeared in the role of Zhou Chong in Thunderstorm. Dad was assigned to teach at the university after graduating from graduate school, and we moved our family to Beijing. Dad loved to show off his singing voice in the kitchen when he was brushing dishes, mostly singing Beijing opera, and occasionally songs about the rescue. I got to know the song “September 18” from my dad’s singing. His classes were mostly scheduled for the first period in the afternoon, and he would get on the podium when the students were most sleepy, and the class was very active with laughter. Whenever a college student comes to the house to ask for homework help, Dad immediately gets into the mood, spreading the paper and pencil and turning the book, speaking with great pleasure. Afterwards, he had to send them out of the house. On summer nights, we would hear Dad’s loud voice coming from the intersection 100 meters away from our house, where he was standing, still talking to his students about something.

I didn’t know much about Dad’s professional attainments, but years later I heard the teachers in the department mention that Dad had a nickname at that time, which was the name of a famous scholar from the former Soviet Union. But I knew that Dad’s foreign language was great. Because Dad went to high school in the fallen areas of Northeast China, he was proficient in Japanese. Later, he was supervised by a Soviet tutor at HIT, and his graduate thesis was written in Russian. After the Cultural Revolution, the Cambodian student whom my father supervised came to my home to ask for help with his homework, and my father communicated with him in English.

Dad was also a particularly decent, honest and self-respecting person, and he never gave us a pen and paper from the public when the teaching unit was well supplied with paper and pens. You can’t just take it home!” We had to take the pile of rubbish back to the trench. In the eyes of the children, my father was a learned and proper person, calm and kind.

However, with the sweeping political movements, especially the blow to intellectuals during the Cultural Revolution, Dad’s temperament changed a lot. At that time, the slogan of “the more knowledge, the more reactionary” prevailed, claiming that universities were revisionist quagmires that had to be completely smashed. Those who had expertise were bourgeois reactionary academic authorities and had to be completely criticized. Intellectuals, including teachers, were ranked ninth among the class enemies, such as the “rich, the rich, the bad, the bad, the right”, and the “stinking old niners”. Dad became more and more silent in the face of all this, always looking preoccupied and acting more and more cautiously. Apart from reading books, he seldom talked about anything. His cautious attitude brought inexplicable tension to the family.

When his brother was working in a factory and the workshop master came to visit him, he hid in the shed and refused to show up for fear of saying the wrong thing. Mom was the only one who came out to exchange pleasantries. Mom was talking to the masters while worrying about the embarrassment caused by the noise Dad made in the hut.

After the workers, peasants and soldiers cadets entered the school, the teachers of the school lectured while accepting the students’ supervision and reform. The saying at that time was called adulteration of sand. The workers and peasants soldiers college students were all the outstanding members of the proletariat recommended from all over the world for their firm stance. To reform the bourgeoisie in the mire of teachers, we must mix in, specifically to “fight criticism” in the school. One of them is that teachers have to submit daily reports on their thoughts to students, and sometimes orally in public. Dad never dared to slow down, each time to repeatedly deliberate to write out the report.

Later, when Dad went to the factory to give lessons to the “old workers’ class”, the master workers exempted Dad from the oral report, and Dad was only required to write a report on his thoughts for one semester. We were all happy for Dad when we found out about this, and he acted much more relaxed, but he was still anxious and said to Mom several times, “Do you think it’s okay if I don’t report? I think it’s okay for the masters to decide.” After I arrived at the Corps, Dad seemed to have a pillar of strength in his spirit. He took his identity as a soldier in the Corps very seriously, and his younger sibling’s unit to deal with things, I had to wait until I returned to Beijing to visit my relatives, by my appearance to do.

The first thing you need to do is to get a good idea of what you’re looking for. The company’s main goal is to provide the best possible service to its customers. Some of the young people in order to get a certificate of illness, self-destruction, overdose on the kidneys and liver damage drugs; some in order to create the illusion of schizophrenia, in front of the doctor to eat dirt and even eat their own stool. In order to be able to return to the city, the youths staged a bitter tragedy stained with blood and tears.

My mother and father lived on a college campus where social relationships and interactions were extremely simple. They racked their brains and couldn’t find any connections to go around. In addition, they belonged to the people who “could not find the temple door even with a pig’s head” and were always shy to open their mouths to ask for help. Therefore, in addition to the long sighs at home to worry about the difficulties, really can not come up with any good ideas. The good news is that a friend or relative in Qiqihar sent a barium meal film of “Gastroduodenal ulcer”, and as long as we can get a certificate of diagnosis from a hospital in Beijing, there will be a great hope for a refund.

But how to get this diagnosis certificate, mom and dad are still at a loss. This is when my best friend introduced her brother-in-law, who was working as a handyman at Haidian Hospital, to Mom and Dad. The parents were so happy that they treated the brother-in-law as a guest of honor and entertained him to the best of their ability, especially the father, who knew that all his daughter’s hopes of returning to the city lay in this. He put aside all his pride and ingratiated himself with this “brother-in-law” to the extent of nodding and bowing.

Dad never drank alcohol and had symptoms of schistosomiasis infection after returning from the Jiangxi cadre school, which was also a heavily infected area for schistosomiasis, and his liver indicators were not normal, so he could not drink. But “brother-in-law” especially love to drink, often come to my house to visit, each time to drink until midnight, mom and younger siblings are asleep, dad alone with “brother-in-law”, not only dare to call off, but also repeatedly to stay, so that “brother-in-law “brother-in-law” to drink to his heart’s content.

I went back to Beijing to visit my relatives and my father entertained “brother-in-law” together. Winter snow night, no heating at home, coal fireplace can not dispel the late night chill. My brother-in-law was not afraid of the cold, the more he drank, the more excited he was, and my father was sitting at the table with me, wrapped in a cotton coat, holding up his sick body. This scene made me feel so sad. I said, “Dad, I’m sorry.” Dad smiled and said, “It’s our luck to find a relationship in the hospital, I can’t be happier!”

Later I noticed that the bicycle was missing from the house, and when I asked, I found out that it had been given to my brother-in-law. Dad said to me happily, “If we just send him cigarettes and wine, he will eat and drink them, but if we send him a bicycle, he will remember what we entrusted him with when he rides it. Fortunately, he doesn’t have a bicycle.”

My brother-in-law is also a real person, after a small year of stringing doors, I finally brought this invaluable blank diagnosis letter when I visited my family, and the first scene of my father and I doing something big appeared.

I was afraid of making mistakes when filling out the diagnosis, my father first practiced a few times on the draft paper, and then carefully filled in the name of the disease on the diagnosis, stroke by stroke, and my father asked me: “How do you fill in the doctor’s signature here?” I said to make up a fake name and fill it in. Dad looked at me hesitantly, as if to say, “Is it okay? Will something happen? I said in a firm tone, “Nothing will happen, just fill in a fake one.” Dad thought for a moment and filled in the word “Yao Jun” after the doctor’s signature. After that dad took a long breath, put down the pen and took a towel to dry the sweat on his palms.

Dad is a disciplined educator, with intellectual honesty and self-respecting integrity. Let him do this kind of thing to make up false certificates to deceive the organization, completely beyond his bottom line! I can fully understand his inner turmoil and fear. But for the sake of his daughter, he had no choice but to do it willingly. At this point, the words “forcing a good man to become a prostitute” jumped to the end of the pen. This is not only our personal tragedy, but also the tragedy of the times!

After I finally handed in my medical discharge report, shortly after I returned to the Corps, my father sent me two high-grade cigarettes to give to the leaders of the labor department in case there were other changes. I chose one night to send cigarettes to the head of the labor and capital section, Yang. I hovered in front of Yang’s house for a long time, but I didn’t have the courage to push the door in, and finally I hastily wrote a small note, marked with my name, tiptoed to put the note and cigarettes on the window sill of Yang’s house, and then ran back to the dormitory in a flash. The day I saw the chief of Yang I rushed around to walk, feeling that I had done something wrong. I still don’t know whether the two cigarettes on the windowsill were retrieved by Chief Yang or taken by someone passing by.

When I returned to Beijing six months later, my father had been diagnosed with liver cancer and was counting down the days to his death. After walking into the house, my dad and I hugged and cried for a long time, and our shoulders were wet with tears. This was the only time in my life that I saw my dad’s tears welling up. Another six months later, just after turning 49 years old, Dad left us forever.

Dad’s tears and my tears are still flowing in my heart today.

April 2018 at Jing Shu Yuan Community


I remember that when I first arrived at the Corps, there were still children of high cadres in the company, maybe their parents had not yet been liberated. Later, as the cadres were rehabilitated, these high cadres’ children left the countryside and the frontier in the first place, and the so-called “it is necessary to receive re-education” argument did not break down. The “three unsatisfactory” status quo forced the top management to loosen the youth policy. As a result, a tidal wave of return movements started.

Without the highest instructions and without mobilization, the youths and their parents did everything they could to achieve the goal of returning to the city. It became an open secret that they had to issue fake certificates to qualify for the return to the city. We all knew that we were faking, but no one ever reported it, but helped each other to cover each other, just like a community of fate.

How to evaluate and understand the collective mass forgery in the big return to the city of intellectuals?

At one time, I remembered and described this period of history with sadness and anger, and defined it as “forcing good people to become prostitutes”. In my subconscious, counterfeiting was unwarranted and a helpless act. However, looking back at the generation delayed by the youth movement, I would like to interrogate history with the words of my comrades. “Fake back to the city, fleeing the corps we justified? We are not wrong! We used ten years of our youth to justify the cost of condemning the one who is at a disadvantage. Who is at fault? The makers of the tragedy that shut down the schools, interrupted the schooling of teenage high school students, and sent a generation of people who could have been successful and served the country to the countryside and delayed their youth for ten years.” Yes, the fake return to the city is a means of self-help for the youth, a struggle to pursue a fair fate, for the morality of right and wrong to be placed in the context of history to judge to define.

This is the answer of the youths after reflection.